The Kentucky Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee led by Chairman Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, recently unveiled its version of the KY budget for the next two fiscal years. Despite what the teachers’ unions and media would have you believe, the Senate version of the budget fully funded the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) with no strings attached.
However, the bill also included an extra $1.1 billion (on top of the full statutory required contribution) that would go to TRS if much-needed structural reforms were made. Otherwise, the money would go to the ailing Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) which – at less than 15% funded – isn’t nearly as healthy as TRS and could really use an infusion of all or part of that funding.
Unfortunately, Kentucky House members lacked the political courage seen of the Senate. The latest version of the budget adds that extra $1.1 billion to TRS instead of KERS despite the teachers’ unions continued refusal of structural reforms to save TRS.
Imagine for a moment if the situation were reversed and it was KERS that needed to make structural changes for the $1.1 billion, and instead, the House went ahead and awarded it to KERS. The full wrath of the teachers’ unions across the state would – as we have seen in the past – come down upon the General Assembly.
Where is the outcry from KERS members who have lost the $1.1 billion their pension fund vastly needs?